Factory Setting: Expanding your career from single to multispecialism

By Naomi Linturn, Digital Account Manager, as originally featured in New Digital Age.

Welcome to Factory Settings, a content series from some of the women in digital at The Kite Factory.

This series aims to myth-bust misconceptions about the digital industry by showcasing the journey and talent of some of our fantastic women in digital. You’ll hear from women with a wide range of experiences and career paths – from Mohini Lakhani (Senior Digital Account Manager), who quickly made the switch from a career in neuroscience to Digital Marketing when she realised the lab life wasn’t for her; to Maria Tudor (Planner Buyer), who studied a masters in digital marketing and has tried her hand at PR and comms before settling on paid planning and buying.

They’ll share their perspectives on some of the most important things they have learned in their careers.

Intro to me

As with many people, I didn’t know who or what I wanted to be when applying for my undergraduate course at the ripe old age of 17. I was advised by many that if I didn’t want to be a doctor or a teacher or something that had a clear path, to simply study what I enjoyed and I would figure it all out later.

However, after four years of studying French and Sociology at the University of Sussex, with an Erasmus year abroad in France, I still had no idea what I wanted to do. So, naturally, I moved back to France and worked in a restaurant to find myself.

After two years, I realised it was time to come home and start my career, and after working in an admin role for a year, I joined a start-up digital marketing agency and took the plunge into all things digital. Then, after a couple more years, I joined The Kite Factory, where I have happily remained for nearly three years. Jumping straight into a new career is rewarding, but it doesn’t come without its challenges!

What was my biggest challenge in dig?

In a start-up, you learn so much. Being part of a small team, naturally, you need to cover a lot of bases, so I learned a lot very quickly. However, my biggest challenge was moving from two specialisms to three in a big new world. At my first agency, I had only previously worked across two paid channels – social and search – and had very limited knowledge of display.

Moving to a larger agency that plans and buys across all digital channels, with each team member being an expert in each channel, was a big move. Display was very new to me, and despite a basic understanding of how it worked, it took me a while to fully understand the channel. Not to mention, I hadn’t ever heard of an ad server! I needed to learn quickly to support my team and drive client results.

How do you move from one specialism to multiple specialisms?

Agencies vary hugely in terms of their teams and their scope of work – in some, you may be part of a team that specialises and works on one channel, and in others you work across all channels. Here are my tips on moving from one to another:

Transferrable skills: Megan mentioned transferrable skills a few articles ago. This is key! Take those existing learnings and skills and apply them to your new day to day – you’d be surprised how much you pick up based on what you already know. You’ll find that if you’re familiar with planning and buying one channel, other channels will follow suit.

Manage your workload: If you’re now working across multiple channels, you need to balance your workload and remain level-headed. There will naturally be a shift in your average day if you’re moving from working across one channel to multiple channels, but it’s important to take stock to ensure you’re prioritising work across the channels you’re familiar with, but you’re also taking time to learn more about your new channels.

Ask questions: We’re lucky to have a great internal programmatic team at TKF who I could bombard with questions on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Media owners are more than happy to support with questions to help you better understand how to plan and buy activity so make use of their skills, too.

Keep learning: This may seem obvious, but make sure you have an ongoing learning programme to support your goals. Join training sessions where you can, read up on the latest industry news and shadow colleagues as much as possible. Our digital industry is ever evolving so we’re all in the same boat and we’re all learning day by day.

How will it help my career to work across multiple channels?

Full funnel activations: The biggest benefit to working across multiple channels is the ability to work across all stages of the funnel. The ability to understand the capabilities of all channels will help inform your media planning to drive a range of KPIs, for example: from upper funnel display to drive awareness, to mid funnel social to drive consideration, to lower funnel paid search to drive conversions.

Integrated planning: Like the above, working across multi channels will provide a holistic approach to your planning and buying. Identifying trends and insights are much easier when you have wider context across channels and can feel more confident in your planning and results. For instance, understanding the deliverables associated with an increased social or display spend will help contextualise any changes in performance across a search campaign.

Varied work: Working across all channels naturally means your day is more varied and no day is the same. This is super important for your growth, happiness, and productiveness at work, which will be noted by yourself but also your employer. A happy and productive employee means better outputs for the company but and will lead to better growth for you as an individual.

Working across teams: Aside from the benefits that multispecialisms bring, we can’t ignore the ways of working that follow. When you work across multiple channels, you will naturally work with wider teams both internally at your company, but you’ll also work with more external stakeholders, be that clients, media owners, consultants and so forth. This exposure is so beneficial as we’ve seen already in Mo’s article – networking in the digital industry is key.

How to have confidence in yourself?

The key element in the above is confidence. At one stage or another I’m sure I can say most of us have faced a level of imposter syndrome even when we’re doing the best of our ability.

Whilst it may feel like a big jump and an unreachable target, you need to take the plunge to be able to reap the benefits. The more you challenge yourself, the more rewards you’ll see.

And again, don’t forget that digital is changing and evolving all the time, so it’s an ongoing learning process for us all!

Up next in our Factory Setting series is Strategist Lydia Martin, with my question to her being, “What one achievement in your career are you most proud of?”